the G-Strings of Guinn, Goodman, Griffin
Expanded from the 7-29-2001 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Ah, summertime and the news is slow. The national press has nothing more than a clumsy attempt at trying to turn a certain California congresscritter into the next OJ.
Internationally, with only one death at the recent Genoa, Italy, economic summit, attention has focused on the continuing eruptions of Mt. Aetna in Sicily. I'm sure there's no truth to the rumor (which I'm starting right here) that the Aetna Insurance Company is considering suing the Italians for trademark infringement.
Apparently, the Sicilianis are enjoying a good tourism boost over this. Makes locals wish that Mammoth would hurry up and blow its top. Such wild speculations happen when there's no real news as the dog days of August approach. Never fear, the Barbwire is here to fill the void.
A BULLET TRAIN FROM SFO TO VERDI. Right now, bucolic Verdi, west of Reno at the California state line, lies in the middle of dandy little dustup and pissing war between the City of Reno and Washoe County. The city wants to annex a large chunk and the county has sued to stop it. Now comes word that the Eldorado Hotel-Casino and Mandalay Resorts have hired a firm to study the feasibility of a monorail train from San Francisco to Boomtown Hotel-Casino in Verdi.
The Carano family, which owns the Eldorado, is landlord of the Silver Legacy Resort downtown and manages the property. It's a joint venture with Mandalay, which operates Circus Circus next door.
Perhaps the casino overlords figure they'll get along better with the Reno City Council rather than the Washoe County Commission when it comes to Verdi, especially if they plan a latter day version of the Great Train Robbery. Things like monorails (and downtown convention centers, bowling and baseball stadia) only get built if corporate guys can convince dumbass public officials to dole out corporate welfare in the name of economic development.
Gomorrah South has been talking up a Los Angeles bullet train for decades. So far, they've settled for stealing Nevada tax dollars to re-pave California highways leading to LV. (On the bright side, I guess that will make the roads a little safer for nuclear waste.)
GRIFFIN GOING FOR A HAT TRICK. Several sources this week confirm that Reno Mayor Jeff Griffin will seek a third term. This scotches rumors of his retirement and move to Oregon.
Another rumor bicycling around has Washoe County Commissioner Jim Galloway among several potential Griffin challengers. Hizzoner's candidacy will at least put the skids to pouty David Aiazzi. The northwest Reno councilman has long groomed and boomed himself as Griffin's heir apparent.
DUDLEY VS. DA MOB. Pressure increases on former mob lawyer and now Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman to run against Gov. Dudley Do-Right next year. No Nevada mayor, with Richard Kirman (1935-39) as perhaps the only exception, has won the governorship.
Goodman is a flamboyant extrovert and wild and crazy guy, an exciting counterbalance to casino-installed bureaucrat Kenny Guinn who still has trouble stringing together complete sentences.
Goodman recently roiled with righteous rage after Guinn handed control of Las Vegas Valley air quality to the Clark County Commission, cutting Goodman and the City of Las Vegas totally out of the process.
Should he win an upset, Goodman will be by no means the first mob-connected Nevada governor. Bob Miller (1989-99) is the son of the late Ross Miller, notorious Las Vegas syndicate front man.
MONEY & POWER. Goodman and Miller are far from the only Nevada politicos up to their necks in shady associations. The definitive summary of the mob's influence in the Silver State has been written by authors Sally Denton and Roger Morris. "The Money and the Power The making of Las Vegas and its hold on America, 1947-2000" will be rousted, roasted and critiqued this morning at 10:30 on KNPB TV-5's Book Notes.
The show is hosted by historian and Thomas Jefferson scholar Clay Jenkinson. Panelists today include the Sierra Arts Foundation's Bill Kolton, state archivist and historian Guy Rocha, Tribune columnist and KOLO TV-8 reporter Dennis Myers and Nevada Film Commission Deputy Director Robin Holabird. Holabird's comments should be particularly noteworthy. I've been telling people that the book would be perfect as Oliver Stone's next conspiracy theory movie.
KAZOO DEPT. Got an interesting range of responses to last week's screed about the shortcomings of the Reno Kazoo-Journal. One came from former ace photographer and assignment editor Jean Dixon. By lumping her in with some oldies and goodies, I mistakenly created the impression that she had been forced into early retirement.
"I just wanted you to know I am still hard at work, albeit not at the Reno Gazette-Journal," she wrote.
"I left the paper in March after 19 years to take a job in the Office of Communications at UNR as a photographer and writer...So although I wish I could have retired early, I'm just not old enough yet," she noted.
I apologize for the lumping. I tried to show, albeit not well, that longer-tenured, higher-salaried people seem an endangered species at the Gannett-owned paper. Dixon was pointed out to me as a double loss an assignment editor who not only knew what to cover, but exactly whom to send.
MEDIA OOPS, PART DEUX. The Reno radio station at 1550 on the a.m. dial has bounced around in many formats,including Spanish music, Spanish and English talk. Recently, they've principally aired the Liberty Radio Network.
If you're into Oliver Stone, black helicopters, JFK, Waco and such, they're your station. On the weekends, they apparently dial up a sampling of web radio stations. Yesterday afternoon, they aired a gardening show from Australia. (I now know how to save mango trees.)
I don't think the Liberty Radio types were ready for the July 21 selection, the Seattle-based GayBC.com network, which booms itself as the number two Internet-only radio station in the country. Frankly, if you're not a queer basher like some people who write for this paper, GayBC.com is very entertaining, especially the music.
I saw no mention on the station's website that it has any over-the-air affiliates, so I can't help but think that its day in Nevada was either a mistake or a disgruntled employee's last official act.
Be well. Raise hell.
© Andrew Barbano
Andrew Barbano is a 32-year Nevadan, a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org/ Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988 .
Site maintained by Deciding Factors (CWA signatory)
Comments and suggestions appreciated. Sign up for news and bulletins.